Versita

YOU SHALL NOT PASS: THE STRATEGIC NARRATIVES DEFINING RUSSIA’S SOFT POWER IN LITHUANIA

Giedrius Česnakas
Keywords: Strategic narrative, soft power, othering, Russia, Lithuania, foreign policy ,

Abstract

The article argues that states’ narratives about themselves and each other, shaped by the foreign policy decision-makers, create filters for the achievement of soft power goals. A state agent can shape narratives that can be rejected by the state’s target’s society because they would undermine dominating biographical and strategic narratives of the state target. The empirical analysis of the narratives of the president, minister of foreign affairs, and spokesperson of the MFA of Russia illustrates how Russia prevents itself from soft power expansion by “othering” Lithuania. At the same time, analysis of the narratives of presidents and the minister of the foreign affairs of Lithuania illustrates how they shield society from Russia’s narratives and, thus, soft power while searching for “sameness” with the EuroAtlantic partners